Beth Keough of Franklin, Massachusetts, didn't set out to walk fifty miles on Cape Cod last fall because she needed the exercise, wanted the blisters, or even because she was raising money to find a cure for a disease she lives with every day — no, she did it out of guilt.
"I was tired of the guilt trips," she laughed.
The guilt trips were from her brother Tom Keough of Milford. Tom had been taking part in Challenge Walk MS on Cape Cod for five years and wanted his sister to join him. Challenge Walk MS is a three-day, 50-mile walk on Cape Cod that raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Beth was diagnosed with MS in 2006.
"I had difficulty walking," she remembered. "I thought it was just a pinched nerve."
Not long after Beth's diagnosis, Tom began participating in the 50-mile walk. Each year he would invite his sister to join him. Her schedule didn't allow her to do so — until last year.
"I always wanted to do it," said Beth. "I had gone to the Saturday night (candlelight) program, and it was such an inspiring thing to see."
Last year, it worked out she could train for and participate in Challenge.
"I decided I would sign up for it — and I was very glad I did."
Not that it was easy: just finding the time to do the long training walks was challenging to say the least.
"It was very difficult, but I did what I could," said Beth. "I definitely wish I had trained more. I did 33 miles (of the 50); it was definitely hard but I pushed through and did what I could."
For big brother Tom, it was great having his sister walking with him.
"It was fun having her out there, trading sarcastic comments and barbs, with her always making sure to keep me humble," he laughed. "I was also very proud at the way she pushed herself past pain and mental hurdles to go farther than she even thought she could. After some stumbles over previous years, it was awesome to see that the changes in treatment were working for her and helping her physically. It gave me a boost, knowing that they are making progress and it's a battle worth fighting. Today, we can walk together for everyone fighting the disease.
The guilt for Beth is gone — replaced by something else.
"A different emotion for me — pride."